Transmission of taeniasis/cysticercosis

Only humans can be infected by adult T. solium tapeworms. Taeniasis is acquired by humans through the inadvertent ingestion of cysticerci in undercooked pork. Once in the human body, cysticerci develop into adult worms that live in the intestine and release egg-bearing gravid proglottids (segments) which are passed in the faeces. Cysticercosis is acquired when proglottids or eggs are ingested. Cysticercosis is a natural infection of pigs, but it can also affect humans, usually when they swallow T. solium egg-contaminated soil, water or food (mainly vegetables).

Taeniasis and cysticercosis are common in areas where animal husbandry practices are such that pigs come into contact with human faeces. The frequency of both conditions has decreased in developed countries owing to stricter meat-inspection standards, confinement of livestock, improved hygiene and better sanitary facilities.

of taeniasis/cysticercosis in countries with free-roaming pigs, poor sanitation and informal animal slaughter - Endemicity of Taenia solium, 2015

Learn about the disease

Educational material